Been meaning to post this for a month! In my eyes, there is no greater experience... Friday, November 6th. I was 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I had been cold all day so I decided to take a hot bath that night. I sat in the tub, rubbed my belly, and talked to it knowing our days together were numbered. Around 9:45, Wade and I started getting ready for bed. By 9:55, Wade was sacked out and I was right behind him. Right around 10:00, I got a big cramping contraction. It wasn’t out of the ordinary but just a little stronger. I started squirming in bed a little which woke up Wade. I told him I was fine, not to turn on the light. I decided to try to stand up to take away some of the strain of the contraction. At that point, Wade turned on the light as I’d only had to stand up through a contraction one other time. As I stood, I noticed a little drip down my legs. I looked at Wade and shockingly stuttered, “Something is running down my legs!” It’s so cliché but I really thought I was just peeing on myself. Everyone had told me that’s what it felt like. It wasn’t a “big gush” just a constant trickle. Wade immediately started loading up the car while I paced our room talking myself out of the fact that this could be real. I texted Lindsay and Mom (who was staying at Lindsay’s) “Something’s happening?!” Neither called nor texted back. I decided to just wait it out and see what happened. Wade continued to load our bags while I stammered crazy things like, “Maybe this isn’t real. I mean I’d hate to wake everyone up for nothing. Maybe I really did just pee my pants (oops, there’s some more fluid!). Let’s not go to the hospital yet (hang on here comes another contraction—they were 3 minutes apart by this point). I need a shower.” At which point, I jumped in the shower then proceeded to straighten my hair while Wade, frustratingly, watched on. Around 11:00, after talking to Mom and Lindsay and being convinced maybe this was the real thing, I told Wade we should probably head to the hospital. He looked at me and said, “Sara, the car’s loaded and ready in the driveway. You just need to finish packing your bag.” Upon arrival to OB receiving at 11:23, I got to state those 4 words that I had only dreamt of telling the receptionist, “My water has broken!” Immediately, a door opened and I was ushered inside. Within 30 minutes, Dr. Griffin poked her head around my curtain and told me what was about to happen. She would check my fluid to ensure it wasn’t urine and then check my cervix to see if I had dilated since my Tuesday appointment (in which I was “a good 1 cm.”) As soon as she started checking my fluid, with eyebrows raised, she stated, “Oh yeah, that’s amniotic fluid. Sara, you’re already 4 centimeters!” Wade was holding my hand and we shared an excited smile. We’ll never forget her next statement because it still seemed so surreal. She looked at us and said matter-of-factly, “You guys are having a baby tonight!” She walked back around the curtain and asked the nurse to start our paperwork to be transferred to labor and delivery. Wade and I just sat there, unsure what to do next. By around 12:30 a.m., we were transferred to labor and delivery. One nurse came in to start my IV and draw labs while another, Hope, came in to hook me up to the fetal monitor and get me settled. Hope would be my nurse for the night. Little did we know at the time how perfect of a fit she was for our situation. I told both nurses of my intentions to have a natural, drug-free delivery. The IV nurse looked at me questioningly and stated, “Well, I’m drawing your lab work so if you change your mind and want an epidural, the anesthesiologist will already have everything he needs.” She walked out of the room. I was a little discouraged but then Hope looked at me and gave me her little pep talk. She said, “OK, Sara, you can do this. I’ve been at UMC for 4 years and very few people want this option. Almost every delivery here involves Pitocin, an epidural, et cetera and I never really understood why they had to be like that. Before UMC, I was at Vanderbilt and we did drug-free deliveries there all the time. I believe in you and know you have support already but I will do anything in my power to make your wishes happen. ” That’s all I needed to hear. The word ‘epidural’ was never mentioned in my room again. By around 2:00 a.m., Dr. Griffin came back to check me. Surprised, she looked at us and said, “You are 7 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. The baby is at -1 station. I’m going to call Dr. Shiflett.” Hope looked at us and told us that we may end up being the fastest first delivery in a while in regards to how quickly things were progressing. By this time I was starting to have severe back labor pains. With Hope’s prompting, Wade took his place behind me on the hospital bed. He straddled my back and I sat at the very end of the bed with my feet almost touching the ground. With every contraction and under my direction, he would put pressure on my spine, hips, and back. I remember him squeezing my hips together so tightly and it made it so much more bearable. Everytime he would lighten up on the pressure, I would tell him, “Harder. Push harder.” He was so scared he was hurting me (turns out, the next morning, as he’d feared I had little bruises marking my back from his touches.) It was so worth it though! By around 3:00, Dr. Shiflett arrived and reassured us that she would not leave until this baby was born. Wade put up both the pink Riley Claire and blue Everett quilt to try and get me focused on something beside the pain. We would learn what our first born was in a matter of hours! At 5:00, Dr. Shiflett came in to check me again and told us that I was 100% effaced and 10 centimeters and the baby was at 0 station. The contractions were really painful at this point but Wade continued to do so good at supporting all the hurt, physically and emotionally. I knew he had to be as exhausted as I. Dr. Shiflett asked if I wanted to start trying to push. At 5:09, we started attempting to push. It took me a solid 40 minutes to push in “the right spot.” Sometime around 7:00 a.m., the day shift nurse came in to relieve Hope. She looked at her and I heard Hope state, “I’ve got too much vested in here to leave now. You can either stay and help or leave and I’ll handle it.” I was so relived that she wasn’t leaving. With each contraction, I would frantically search my room for Hope (who was usually about 2 steps away) and say, “Hope come back over here. I’m about to have another one!” She held my right hand while Wade manned his station on my left. It all seemed like a blur of pushing every 3 minutes for about 2 ½ hours. Then it got really intense. I would have 2 or 3 stacked contractions and then a 1 minute break. Around 8:10, the excitement in the room was palpable. Dr. Shiflett told me that the baby was trying to come out and, with every contraction, she’d see his little head move back and forth like he was trying to burrow his way out. At 8:24 a.m. I heard Dr. Shiflett say, “We’ve got a nuchal cord times two.” I knew that meant the cord was wrapped around his neck but she said it so calmly, I wasn’t worried. Also, I remember being relieved because I knew that meant his head was out. Within seconds, she placed our beautiful baby up on my chest. Wade was crying and looking at me. He said, “It’s our baby.” His legs and arms were so long and moving all around. He didn’t really cry much, just scowled like he was mad about being out. At some point, someone said, “It’s a boy” at which point I lifted up his right leg and confirmed with my own eyes. He cried just a little and someone noticed that there was a lot of blood. His cord clamp had come undone and he was bleeding out of his umbilical vessels. They clamped it again and cut it off closer to his tummy. Wade didn’t get to cut the cord and we were both disappointed but more relieved that he was okay. He started looking really pale and so they took him over to the warmer to get him cleaned and warmed up. His Apgars, I would later find out were 9 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes.